This week we were happy to learn more about artist Paige Morris, a Tyler School of Art alumni whose work explores the expected beauty standards of women and her own personal faith. Her piece Communion Dress is now on display in our current exhibition, Emergence.
Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
I am a Philadelphia based artist with a background in Glass. My work stems from views on the gender binary, considering American beauty standards and my own memories of submission throughout my life. There is typically some form of preservation through a destructive process that subtlety questions female stereotypes in order for me to raise questions, such as what roles do women play in US society and how do we want to be perceived.
Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
My work is mainly derived from personal experiences and the exploration of feminine artifacts such as hair, Barbie Dolls, and garments. Most of the time, I focus on past experiences that were meant to shape and mold me into a specific person, such as my Catholic upbringing. I then consider the person I am today and find a middle ground for the two conflicting themes to meet.
What types of obstacles have you run into in your artistic practice and how do you go about navigating around them?
Since finishing undergrad, I have run into many financial obstacles. In order to continue my practice I create mini projects for myself, using objects and trash I have collected over the years. I create small scale sculptures based on a theme or a material or a time constraint. The result has allowed me more play in the studio.
I am also a huge advocate of work exchange. I often take volunteer positions in order to further my education, as well as gain access to tools and equipment I do not have access to everyday.
What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?
I find that my work is often described as subtle and beautiful. When creating work I strive for a particular aesthetic that a general audience will be attracted to. The beauty aspect also enhances the underlying concept revolving around American beauty myths, and when it is altered with subtle destructive processes, such as rust, the work begins to question the viewer of the value of beauty.
Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to? Who are your role models (artists or non-artists)?
I have a strong affinity to artists whose work is very ephemeral. I look to a lot of artists that have similar aesthetics as me and are questioning gender role and identity. Recently, I’ve been very interested and inspired by artists such as Jenny Holzer, Silivia Levenson, and Karen LaMonte.
What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?
Never stop creating!
See more of Paige's work at PaigeLizabethMorris.com